Training Smart w/o Plan Recommandations

Greetings there,

Like a lot of you, I also ride in groups on weekends, and for that following a training plan becomes a bit difficult as the weekend group ride is my priority. Also, like most of us in this forum, I want to be at the head of the peloton and fighting up those punchy climbs or keeping up in the flat when the speed rockets or, better still, answer to attacks by dropping the attacker. Anyways, I am looking for a way to train smart and keep improving my fitness without necessarily following a plan.

I have been trying to keep a four sessions week which includes one trail running session (usually one hour), one high intensity SUF video, one endurance video (for Z2) and the group ride.

I also plan to do some crits for the first time this year, and living not far away from the Pyrenees, I do like to go to climb some cols from time to time.

That said, any recommendations on the type of workouts I should be aiming for during the week ? I feel training plans add some stress as I’m constantly trying to do what the plan asks each day whereas when I do not have a plan I can of “go with the flow” even though I still know what I am aiming at per week training.

FF weakness: Sustained Effort
FF Strength: NM

Also, when compared to others, I feel I do not improve as quick but that might just be physiology.


@Reynaldo_Lopez Maybe try a tempo or threshold building block and take the workouts outside on the weekends. Generally those plans are Monday rest, Tuesday progression, Wednesday east spin, Thursday varies and Friday easy with Z2 on the weekends. You can modify once you drop it on the calendar.

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Thanks @JSampson for your recommendation.

As I have in mind giving criteriums a try I thought maybe the MAP block would be best but maybe I can do those MAP efforts on the road with during the group ride.

I believe in another entry of yours that you race on XC MTB; is that right ? If so, do you find threshold / tempo block help you ? I think crits qnd XC efforts might be similar.


One thing to keep in mind even without a plan is to keep some sort of structure going, like 3 on 1 off.

If you prefer a flowing style of training just keep an eye on your data and react to that. Your group ride hammered up three mountains means you probably have FTP covered. If it’s super surgy, you might wanna do something more constant on your own time. Your 5 minute max and 20 min max in the last 2 weeks look sorta similar, add 9 hammers to your calendar.

Use common sense and start tracking what you do. If you don’t want to plan ahead, I‘d probably look back frequently to see what you responded well to and what didn’t work. Just respond moderately and don’t turn all the knobs at once.

Maybe keep a more formalized test like HM or FF in your regime, so it‘s easier to spot if you’re on track.


@Reynaldo_Lopez Sure - threshold and tempo help but I don’t do it all of the time. I also work on strength, NM drills, Z2 and also do some racing simulation periodically such as the ProRide videos to get used to that heart up in your throat feeling you get when racing shorter and intense events.

Further I like what @attaquer is saying - be sure to keep an eye on rest and recovery and don’t go too far into the red. The great thing about following a plan is that they are structured to balance out your training.

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Thanks for the recommendations. I feel a while back with the “Volcano Climbing” or “Speed Deamon” plans it was a bit more intuitive for what I’m looking for. The things with group rides is that is somewhat unpredictable, some days you spedn an hour or so flat out in Z5 and some others, well, just a mellow Z2 - Z3 ride which makes it hard to anticipate for the week workouts.

I guess I’ll start using a bit more often HM/FF to see what works out the most in terms of AC/MAP/FTP SUFF workouts.

I used to do a lot of strength but due to time constraints I had to cut that down so I figure instead of using 2 days of the week for strength, I’ll use them on the bike or running. Maybe I’m sacrificing something there, neverthless Power Station is a heck of a strength workout.

Cheers guys !

@Reynaldo_Lopez Note you can still access those old plans on Training Peaks but I don’t really recommend them. For me they provide short term benefits but somewhat at the expense of longer term gains.


Thanks !

I remember Volcano Climbing pushing quite hard. Maybe today the plans are aimed more at longevity as well (ling term gains) as you mention. I hope in the future we will get the option of a 4 weeks plan aimed at a specific goal like crit or climbing.

I found the week with Phil Gaimon was quite good for short climbs, but it is just a one week plan.

@Reynaldo_Lopez Perhaps but I think the Building Block plans do a lot of the same things.

@JSampson - What a resource, where have I been hiding all of this time? Lots of free plans from Apex Coaching team!! I obviously live a sheltered existence. Thank you for sharing them.

@FatSprinter Note that they are dated - you won’t find any of the inspiration workouts and the newer SYSTM content. I used the TR plans to add workouts to my library within TR and then I can easily drag and drop stuff into the TR calendar to design my training plans which generally match what I chose in SYSTM but TR adds the ability to mark dates like vacation, sick, add times for weight workouts, event management, etc.

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